Revisiting the Stepping Stones

I have been a little on the cranky side lately – not cranky exactly, but a bit out of sorts. I am not sure why, so I blame work.

I have really wanted to sew and haven’t been able to settle on anything that demanded I get myself to the workroom and work on the project. As a result, I thought it would be a good idea to work on a project that would really be exciting to me. I like my other projects, but don’t want them to be #1 right at the moment. I know this means starting something new and not finishing things. TFQ reminded me that sewing/quiltmaking should be fun and not something I should do. I am taking my advice and her advice.

I dug around and pulled out two Lintott books and the two Kim Bracket books I have. I perused them to see what interested me, but was still enamoured with the Stepping Stones pattern in Layer Cakes, Jelly Rolls and Charm Quilts, pg. 72-79. I have been wanting to do this in the Bonnie and Camille fabrics (remember the test?), but wasn’t really happy with the background choices. The B&C greys are a bit depressing. I think they have some taupe or brown undertones I eschew. Bottomline: they didn’t really give me the look I wanted. I bought a solid during a binge of end of the year fabric therapy with the intention of using it as a base for the background. I still want it to be scrappy, but I should be able to use it to compare other possibilities.

One PITA is that there is a lot of cutting that has to go on before very much sewing can happen. The other PITA, which I am sure I mentioned as I worked on the first Stepping Stones quilt, is that the pattern doesn’t say that I should use light medium or dark to get the overall pattern. It actually uses the colors they used, which isn’t very helpful if the maker is using different colors. To make matters worse, the photo in the book is pretty bad and I am shocked that a great publisher like David and Charles would allow such a photo to be used in one of their books.

As I worked through those problems, I realized that I really wanted to push fabric through the machine. But I didn’t want to just sew mosaic piecing; I wanted to sew with a purpose. I wanted to sew something that would make me happy. Two goals a bit at odds with each other.

I started in anyway thinking I could always stop all the thinking I had to do to get the Stepping Stones to a stage where I could just piece. I pulled out my bin of Bonnie and Camille fabrics and started pressing and cutting and placing and looking.

Turquoise/Red Stepping Stones block in progress
Turquoise/Red Stepping Stones block in progress

An odd thing happened. I gradually moved from all Bonnie and Camille fabrics to some Bonnie and Camille fabrics and other more turquoise, scarlet and pinky red fabrics. I like the Bonnie and Camille fabrics, but the overall effect of them, for me, was not cheerful enough. They have a vintage look, which I like, but somehow the feel was too calico and not quirky enough. I think of vintage quilts (as opposed to vintage fabrics) as a bit quirky and ones I like do not have the feel of small calico prints.

I really like dark pinky reds and bright turquoises. The Bonnie and Camille fabrics have softer turquoises, tending towards light blue and a lot of orangey reds.

It is interesting how pieces evolve. I am also happy that I was able to give myself permission to use more than just the Bonnie and Camille fabrics. I know that sounds odd, but stuck in my mind was a quilt with Bonnie and Camille fabrics. Moving beyond the idea of a quilt from a whole line (or series of lines) of just Bonnie and Camille fabrics required a major brain shift. I am glad, because I am able to use some non-B&C fabrics that I really like while keeping some of the Bonnie and Camille fabrics that fit in with my new vision.

Author: Jaye

Quiltmaker who enjoys writing and frozen chocolate covered bananas.